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Mary Brennan Education. (2012) 'Pat Nixon Embattled First Lady.' New.

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U.s. 8, United States 8, New York 7, Liberia 6, Mrs. Nixon 5, Us 5, India 4, America 4, Nixon 3, Mary Brennan 3, Eisenhower 3, Nixons 3, Europe 3, Peru 3, Nevada 3, Moscow 3, Ryan 2, Jackie Kennedy 2, Monrovia 2, London 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Mary Brennan  Education.  (2012)  
   'Pat Nixon Embattled First Lady.' New.  

    November 10, 2012
    3:45 - 4:45pm EST  

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we will be live with tom wolfe at 6:00 p.m. eastern. we will have call-in interviews and more. visit booktv.org. the national press club book fair and author nidus on november 13. the fair includes more than 90 writers and proceeds support the national journalism institute. watch booktv for interviews from this event. this year's national book awards will be in new york city on november 14. the ceremony celebrates authors works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young adult literature. we will air the ceremony live on booktv.org on the 14th at 6:00 p.m. eastern. it will also air next weekend on c-span here. please let us know about hookers in your area and we will add
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>> in her book, "pat nixon", mary brennan discusses the use of mrs. nixon's private documents. this is just over 60 minutes. >> welcome. i'm the acting director of the library and i appreciate all of you coming to our continuing author copies and patience. today, we are very fortunate to have the leading scholar on pat nixon was 100 years ago this year. mary brennan, who did much of her research here for her book is the chair of the department at the university of texas in
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san marcos. her specialty is post-world war ii conservative movements and she has written to date three different books. conservative women and the crusade against communism and book that we love most is pat nixon, the embattled first lady. her book is an outstanding work and i look forward and would like you to help me welcome her to talk about her work. mary brennan. [applause] >> ain't you, paul, it is such an honor to be back here at the nixon library.
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as paul said, i get a lot of my research here and i feel very close to all of the people here. they were so helpful to me in learning what i did about pat nixon. i would like to begin about a story. one evening in 1954, it was president eisenhower who is going to speak. an indian woman sitting on a bench by the banquet hall thought that she recognized the woman. halfway down, pat remembered the woman and returned where the woman was sitting. she spoke with a woman and asked her if they had not yet met previously. she asked about her stay in the u.s. and implied on what she was doing in the hallway. the woman explained that she was returning to india in a few days and hope to catch a glance of the president before she went home. she then arranged for the woman to be given a seat at the dinner
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so that she could hear the speech as well as see the president. nixon then left the hall to continue on to the engagement. i used the story because i think it exemplifies several key points i wish to make about pat and her public role. particularly about the role of foreign diplomats. first, she met the woman during one of her travels as first lady. the traveling she did as first and second lady was the best part of her job. as a political wife. second, she was just a young woman who had come to the united states and had come out to see the second lady and see the united states to study. she treated everyone she met as though they were the most important person in the world.
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there, she was happiest in her role when she could take action. the party they were out in the engagement they were going to or not is important at that moment as getting this visitor from india a seat at the presidential dinner. in the greater scheme of things, this is really a small act, but it was a lasting impression on the women at the table that she would see to that. someone she ended up linlithgow to pat later about this. how did her job, one should not always enjoy it. she felt many of her tasks were frustrating and mindnumbing. by the end of the first term, she expressed her jealousy of her friends reentering the workforce.
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she wrote that i would like to do part-time work rather than useless talking about that i am expected to do. the thrill of meeting famous men and women and the glamour of the white house were off, with leaving only constant evenings away from her girls. for some who have worked hard her entire life, and she had worked hard, the situation could at times be intolerable. the long hours and the physical challenges, not doing something meaningful, perhaps, that is why foreign travel appealed to her. during her trips overseas, she felt that she was playing an important role. she was representing american interests abroad. but it came during her first year as second lady. beginning in asia and continuing
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to parts of the continent. during the fall of 1953, president eisenhower will the vice president that he should take pat with him. she realized that this trip would be work but it would be interesting. with a minimal entourage that included a military aide and a state department representative and a flight surgeon, three press representatives, two secret service agents, the only other woman on the trip, rose mary woods, the nixons embarked on their 42,000-mile journey. in a little more than two months, the group visited over 15 countries, attended hundreds of state dinners, participated in innumerable ceremonies and spoke with millions of people. the state department had briefed the group on the many countries
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and peoples it would be visiting. pat took these very much to heart. she had served as the groups walking encyclopedia. whenever they needed information about the country or the culture, they would turn her because she would have the information. her husband concentrated on the larger issue of asian allies, clarifying eisenhower policies and communism. while he did that, pastoralist go out and meet people. so that they can meet with a list many different people as possible in the country they visited. she recognized that there was a job to be done as she wrote in her travel diary. but she could not help but be caught up in the thrill of
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traveling. even her sadness of leaving her girls to not overwhelm her excitement. the harsh reality combined the little girl's enthusiasm for new and different sides and let off the pages of her diary. her initiation ceremony was recorded as she crossed the equator for the first time. attendance at a female frolic arranged all-male entertainment. on the 14th of october, she detailed the experience in a mayoral village and she and dick had to participate in the custom of nose rubbing. although, she said, that she felt safe when some of the disheveled people lined up for the nose rubbing, the nixons took part.
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she also visited the kitchen where the women were cooking the food that they were going to be eating later on and she said the kitchen was so dirty and unsanitary that she was actually quite leery of eating the food and she had learned to push food around on her plate, so look like she was eating without actually eating anything. this would prove to be the case on all the overseas trip that they would make during the vice presidential years. the conditions could be challenging, but pak continued to be told of visiting new countries. in early 1956, she attended the inauguration of the new president in rio de janeiro, city did she call the most attractive really beautiful city she had ever seen and where the parties were fabulous. but she found they actually went in january.
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there was like a 75-degree climate change when they went there in one day. the nixons set off on another tour. she explained that this was a fast and furious issue. thailand, pakistan, and turkey. she, again ,-com,-com ma had her own schedule of events. in the end, she wrote, it left us busy but happy. but in such a short time, so much could be accomplished. in november of 1958, the couple traveled to london where pat while the press with her naughty wardrobe and unspoiled manner. the final year he went to poland. in moscow, this confronted nikita khrushchev in the debate during which the two leaders argued communism and capitalism in an exhibition of american consumer goods.
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she had her own agenda of visiting orphanages and hospitals. there were all kinds of pictures of her handing out candy and bubblegum to children in life magazine. more importantly, her point of question led the rise of other soviet officials appearing at the event during the rest of the visit. she thought it helped to have a woman along on a diplomatic trip. he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of cheers that greeted the nixons as they traveled through the streets of poland. she was not easily rattled and had to fight back tears. when she became first lady almost 10 years later, the
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recognition of the important role only increase. the wonder struck traveler remain beneath the surface but she had to become more aware of the power of her position. she visited 32 countries around the world and she accompanied her husband on a groundbreaking trip to china and set precedent by traveling solo as an official representative of the united states. she repeated it in 1974 by attending the swearing-in ceremony of ernesto gesell. he strove to make as many friends as possible for herself and the country. while she made friends everywhere, it arose from a
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sincere desire to look beyond the dignitary to the people of the country that she visited. in part because of the connection with her own room. she never forgot who she was or where she came from. he supported herself since she was a teenager. she told a childhood friend that even though she occasionally felt inadequate for the task, the people that she met were so gracious as she felt comfortable continuing important work she and her husband were doing. ..
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in the philippines she visited an orphanage and training center for learning trade which could be done in the home. in south korea she went to a republic of korea division hospital and gave out candy and cigarettes. her comments indicated the state of things, quote, wounded on army blankets, soiled bed clothes. when her first tour as second
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lady visited 200 institutions promoting industry, women that support themselves and their children, setting up a neighborhood kitchens and dispensaries. because the group made unscheduled stops she felt they were able to, quote, get the real picture. she concluded that in general people can sense when another person is friendly and genuinely interested. that is what they tried to do, to show them, show the people they've revisiting that they were interested in that as people. some months -- someone once asked if mario draghi how she could appear to be interested in these diverse people she met and she said that is because i am. i look at the person i'm talking to and i know they have a story to tell and i wanted to hear that story. all i am doing is paying attention while i am talking to them. she took her role as representative of the united states very seriously.
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she saw herself as an important official chain. she made an impression on the people she met. one constituent explained to mario draghi her husband was on an around the world business trip and ran into what he called the pat nixon trial. she really rang a bell in this part of the world at a time when americans were not very popular. an american couple living in india sent her a similar letter after her return praising the couple for bringing, quote, a fresh understanding of america to the people of india. president eisenhower praised for those nixons for their work on the trip. even the american press noticed her role on the tour. and new york are american explained although she did not make any speeches the carry on all policy discussions she bore her share of the work load. per love of travel, her open less, her quick smile and
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genuinely kind heart endeared her to the people she met and made her a wonderful unofficial ambassador for the united states. in fact in 1957 journalists labeled her this country's most effective female ambassador of goodwill after accompanying had and deck on a tour of italy and watching as she, quote, charmed peasants by the thousands and potentates by the dozens. without talking politics she managed to win over not only the, quote, ragged women in the monrovia and salt markets but also those who granted her an unprecedented formal audience. her goal was to convince people we enjoy being here and are genuinely interested in them. she was not the only one to see the importance of her role. by the time of the soviet trip, catch as ambassador of goodwill
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had won even in new york times, calling her a diplomatic high heel, the reporter described her as self possessed, self-made, orderly and precise. the capital press club, organization of african american news correspondents presented her with an international relations award in 1957 recognizing, quote, her goodwill activities among the people of eight african countries, they chose her as america's outstanding ambassador of goodwill. deputy attorney general william rogers wrote to packed in a trip to europe in which he was a bombarded with requests for her presence on the next vice-presidential trek. he praised her important and significant role in public affairs. but all of responsibilities as second lady, the travel not only fulfilled her childhood dream but also allowed her to feel a useful and necessary part of an important enterprise. when her husband had first run
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for office they had been a team and pat had been a crucial player. as his career took off in different directions pat sometimes felt relegated to the sidelines. her work overseas reinforced that she was still significant, not just to her husband's career but to something larger. when she became first lady, foreign travel weather with her husband or on her own continued to play a vital role for pact allowing her to participate in the political realm of positive way at a time when many other paths were limited. c-span much of her time in a workhouse working against political aides who did not value her advice, opinions or presents. many of these men treated her as a prop to use for publicity purposes only. her domestic agenda did not ignite action in the public. he face challenges from shifting social order as the women's movement spread throughout the country, her supermom and
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superwife face ridicule from the press for letting her husband put her into politics. the more conservative press praised her willingness to stand by her husband. pat the woman hated the increased lack of privacy and long for something meaningful to do. travelling abroad took her away from the frustrations at home and allowed her to be herself. even her husband who excluded her from most important policy decisions. years later, had always handled herself, and she might inadvertently over here, he explained it she, quote, listened and nodded but never made comments of her own. at the same time he relied on her to notice things he did not because as he put it he was very observant. giving have some responsibility in small diplomatic has also
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provided nixon with cover from the increasingly vocal feminists who demanded more of a role in government policy. she was a woman he could trust to do only what he expected her to do. pat's foreign traveling did more than feed her desire for a venture visiting new places, it was a way of reconnecting with her husband and the team of old. he had never been more a part of his life and work than when they traveled together during the vice-presidential years. the circumstances unchanged. now they traveled with a huge entourage of aides, security personnel and reporters and feelings toward the u.s. had hardened over the years but her husband's faith and her abilities demonstrated by his willingness to send her off by herself must have gratified her. ec's the opportunities to prove herself. her trip to peru in 1970 he penalize her value as a foreign ambassador. on may 31st, 1970, and
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earthquake measuring 7.75 on the richter scale devastated half of peru killing at least 50,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of others. mudslides followed the initial quake causing further damage. homeless, injured and starving survivors rushed to the coastal areas in search of medical attention and news of love one's. news reports filtered back to the united states president nixon promised $10 million in aid and promising to load of the and navy helicopters for the search and rescue mission. the american public moved by the devastation had begun donating supplies and money to be sent to the people of peru. similarly empathetic, pat wanted to help. during a weekend at camp david the couple discussed the situation and the possibility of had personally delivering donations from the american people down to peru. a week later she flew to peru and met the wife of the peruvian
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president to deliver donations, visit the injured and homeless and review the damage. she took with her over 18,000 pounds of clothing, blankets and other goods as well as cash donations. during her brief stay she accompanied her on a tour of the most devastated regions flying on a small plane, but sitting on a kitchen chair with no seatbelt, walking amid the rubble she hugged children and offered comfort to those who had lost everything. heard genuine concern and sympathy did much to ease the tension that had existed between the u.s. and peru. and editorial noted the profound significance of pat's visits. in her human warmth and identification with suffering of the peruvian people, the editorial continued, she had gone beyond the norm of international courtesy.
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the people of peru appreciated the understanding and concern she demonstrated in our sorrow. on her departure, she was awarded the grand cross course of the order of the sun. even the washington post which rarely had much positive to say about the nixon administration admitted she had, quote, fretted her way among all potential sources of trouble admirably and with skill, he epitomizing the simple human response required by the tragedy, she succeeded in communicating to the peruvians a genuine desire to help and to have done so with great tact for all of which she deserves much credit. the trip to peru showed the potential for to serve as a goodwill ambassador. kirk triplett following year to africa displayed determination to break through the restraints of her first lady role. in early january 1972, have set out on a eight day, 10,000 mile
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trip to the african continent where she visited liberia, gone and the ivory coast. the primary mission of the trip to participate in the inauguration of the new president of liberia. for the first time the first lady would be the official representative of the united states. as such, had met privately with the president and prime minister, and president edward auto of gonna and president felix -- times are -- of the ivory coast. i just murdered their names for which i apologize. 4 shall -- included the u.s. ambassador to liberia, samuel west field and reverend billy graham and mrs. johnson, the wife of the president of the johnson publishing co. which published ebony and jack. in addition to official meetings, press conferences and
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speeches before political parties the africans treated pat and her entourage to reception. pat took her responsibilities very seriously. noted in her biography of her mother, she snuck away from family activities on christmas day to go over her briefing notes and organize her thoughts for the upcoming trip although the state department and staff prepared remarks for her she went over them, making changes where she felt necessary and highlighting points wanted to emphasize. in liberia she pleased her host by noticing how impressed shearwaters by the considerable development that had occurred since her last visit in 1957. gonna, she traveled into the hills to pay her respects to 83-year-old chief who she had met in the vice-presidential visit. he told her that she had forged a friendship between the american and gone up people
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that, quote, not even a client could break. before she left gonna she spoke before the national assembly delivering a rare public political speech. in each of the three countries pat spoke with leaders about her husband's upcoming trip to china, explaining he did not intend to normalize relations but to open a dialogue. he reiterated america's promise of financial assistance to aid in development and announce creation of three -- three scholarships to travel to the united states to study. for official pronouncement earned her the accolades in the country she visited or back home. it was her warmth, current is the as and, again you and appreciation of and affection for the people she met. in liberia she reported she could not wait to get around and meet some people. she did that. she waded into crowd shaking hands, giving hugs and patting
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backs. at the inauguration ceremony, she had a warm cheek to cheek embrace, he called her a woman, quote, of courage, strength of character and fortitude of spirit. when a group of women presented her with traditional cloth rather than politely accepting the gift, putting it under her chair, she stood up and tied it around her waist. the women were shocked to realize what she was trying to do in the immediately got up and came to help her and dressed her in the traditional clothing. her delight in the outfit and willingness to model it in front of her audience and the cameras spoke volumes about her respect for the culture and the people she was visiting. if you have a chance to visit the centennial exhibit you will see there's that wonderful picture of path in the blue head address, that is the most beautiful picture of pat nixon that you can find and it speaks volumes about how she felt about
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her ability to go on and meet people and play a role in and showed them the respect and you can see in her eyes in that picture that was very much something, wasn't something she was putting on. it was something she believed in. all the news photos show cat with a huge grin on her face with she is watching a traditional tribal dance, listening to a speech or traveling in a motorcade or participating in a tribal dance which she is doing in another picture. had returned home triumphantly heralded by the press. time magazine declared her african queen for a weekend in new york times marveled that they loved her in monrovia. pat would make one solo trip as first lady. in 1974 she attended the inauguration of president of brazil and made a stop in caracas, venezuela.
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by this point her credentials of diplomatic asset were well-established but caught up in the midst of the watergate scandal media paid little attention to the first lady's travel itinerary which was quite a shame because it is where the -- nixon had that terrible experience during the vice-presidential year and this was one of the first trips back there and even though the venezuelan press noted this, the american press really did not relate, the significance of her trip. most of the attention was on her political problems back home. 1972 was a highlight year for hat, she had this wonderful experience and came back from maverick and in february they prepare for the ground-breaking trip to peking and in june they will go to moscow. have proved she did not have to
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apply solo to make a difference during an official trip. dick met with diplomatic leaders and negotiated on communicates, catch toward the country, met with whenever citizens she was allowed to and attended cultural events. the meetings open communications between countries and have helped forge a good feeling among people of countries involved in international relations. a determined anti-communist and a 40s and '50s, working on fighting the the cold war between the u.s. and the people's republic of china for years. once he became president, he and his national security adviser henry kissinger explore different avenues of communication in china. in 1971 efforts paid off and china and extended an invitation to the president to visit
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peking. not only would nixon be the first u.s. president to visit the people's republic of china, but china's self-imposed isolation, a limited group of westerners who have never been there. as a result there was tremendous worldwide interest in the trip. when china decided to allow the american press to tag along with the president and mrs. nixon, people around the world followed february 1972 journey with tremendous interest. dick had remain sequestered with chinese leaders much of the time. had was the representative who introduced americans to china, represented the american people to the chinese. if she had not already realized what a great responsibility she had on her shoulders, the briefing papers she got from the state department made it
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explicitly clear. emphasizing her role as a unique opportunity detroit represented to reestablish communication between the women of china and america, the state department reminded her she would be the first leading american woman the chinese had met. the intensive u.s. television coverage provided her with the unprecedented opportunity to influence the way in which americans view the chinese, chinese women and the social order. had responded to the pressure by intensifying the normal home work routine she followed before any trip. studying her state department briefing papers carefully, reading quotations, learning useful chinese phrases of chinese and worrying about her schedule. on most of the trips she had taken in the 1950s as first lady, pat had insisted on attending more than the usual reception is.
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she asked to visit hospitals, schools and other facilities that helped women or the poor. this time she had little control over what she could do, where she could go or do she could meet. she'd 9 need not have worried. although she had the feeling she was being isolated from the public she won over the people she did meet and delta diplomatically with those who tried to convert her. helen thomas recounted that when invariably young women from the revolutionary committee would try to engage her in a political discussion she would smile and say i am acquainted with his philosophy. from the cooks in the kitchen of the hotel to the vice chairman of the evergreen people's coming in to the premier himself the chinese melted under her warm smile and genuine enthusiasm for experiencing new cultures. during her visit to the kitchen
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with 150 coax she gladly sample their creations including a fiery stuff pickled squash. in reporters were quite impressed and they couldn't eat it but she did. sitting next to the premier at the state dinner she commented on the cigarette holder. when pat asked if he meant the cigarette he responded payment -- gladly accepted the gift. nixon also realized talking to the chinese leaders would worry the soviets so when they came back from the visit to china here ranged they would also go back to the soviet union. as a result, in late may/early june 1972, pat, dick and don ross travelled to moscow where dick met with soviet leaders while pat used her usual separate schedule. accompanying -- obviously the soviet leaders have learned
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their lesson and brought their wives out when pat was going to be there. pat took a ride on the subway and watched the rehearsal at the bolshoi ballet, visited the school children and toward the department store. he also attended a russian circus were performing bears startle her. a sight so much out of the ordinary the press reported on it in the american paper. as to become her pattern she won over the russian people and the reporters who accompanied her. the russians as well as the polls during the couple's is appreciated the first lady's delight in the ballet and the circus, robbie is affection for the school children she met and hugged, hurry easy manner with the soviet leader's. in fact at one point, mrs. nixon grab the hand of mrs. brezhnev's who was not used to the throng of reporters and crowds constantly surrounding the women, pat's determination to stop and talk with the people who had come out to me or cedar entered the affection of the
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population. one incident exemplified her appeal to the ordinary people she encountered. during the nixon stopover in warsaw pact attended a show recital. won the crowd applauded as she rose to lead, she walked toward them intending to shake hands and talk to the people. turned her prayer attempted to lead her back to the official party. she refused to join the group until she had waited into the crowd of men and women who responded very warmly with some men taking off their hats and others kissing her hand. reporters, even critical u.s. correspondents were extremely complementary. the globe described her as a remarkable saleswoman. the london daily mail claims she was the best boost for womanhood since they invented lipstick and the herald reported got a warm feeling at the sight of mrs. nixon and mrs. brezhnev holding hands. she earned the respect and gratitude of the reporters by her behavior during their visit to the department store.
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throughout the trip reporters had been forced to battle soviet police who were guarding mrs. nixon. the situation came to a head on the first day of the visit as pat walked to the store. hundreds of people stood in a jason dials to wave and catch a glimpse of her. reporters trying to cover the event found their views blocked by soviet security. pushing became shoving became fists flying through the air. pat save one reporter from being manhandled by pulling the reported to her and offering him a lack of her ice-cream cone. obvious distress at the situation and attempt to remedy it did much to win the open admiration of the reporter. we end with another story that reinforces her love of travel. her openness to all the people she met including reporters and willingness to take whatever action was necessary. from harry and bess days listening to her husband at stories of adventure to her years as a single woman taking
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off on small excursions to the early years of her marriage to dick as they shared love of visiting new places traveling treat half, invigoration there and provided her with opportunities she might not have had otherwise. travel also provided with the means to transform the first lady's roll. although observers at the time often criticized her for failing to focus on a specific cause as lady bird johnson had or appearing to mirror too closely mamie eisenhower, had succeeded in pushing the limits of acceptable first lady responsibilities and behavior is especially in terms of foreign diplomacy. she traveled more than any other first lady of their time and accompanied her husband on his ground-breaking trip to the people's republic of china. plus reports of for interaction with the chinese as she tore the country often -- offer americans a glimpse into the formerly closed society. building on her experience as second lady, she refused to limit her official first lady
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itinerary to acceptable lady former tease and perceptions. she wanted to visit hospitals and schools. her determination to meet with wind american soldiers during a visit to south viet nam and she became the first first lady to travel to a combat zone. she showed the first lady was not just a ceremonial propped. this traveled successfully on her own. her journey to peru, a humanitarian relief to the wounded and needy citizens of lima and helped forge a new relationship between the two countries. when she attended the inauguration of the new president of liberia she became the first wife of a sitting president to serve as official representative to a foreign country. for enthusiastic response to the people she met in south america and africa serve the diplomatic opening for future first ladies to explore. her initial success with handling diplomacy on her own
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led to her taking additional trips during her husband's term in office. like everything else connected to richard nixon her expansion of the role of first lady was lost in the midst of watergate. rather than celebrating her accomplishments she spent her last month in the white house avoiding reporters and urging her husband to fight on. instead of the press inquiring about her next trip or commenting on her appearing in a pants suit in a woman's magazine, another first, the focus was on the growing scandal. even her obituary 20 years later, 20 years after the resignation concentrated more on watergate that her activities as first lady. she never came to love politics or political life but as she had her entire life she made the best of a bad situation. building on her love for travel and natural abilities, her openness, keen observation skills, has opened the door for the first lady to be an
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essential part of her husband's foreign policy team. she found her niche in politics. thank you very much. [applause] >> i will be happy to answer any questions. nobody has any questions? >> when you were doing research for the book, did you contact the daughters for any input or insight that helps you gather any additional information that you didn't already find when you went to the library? >> joy helps me gain access to the rest of her mother's papers and i corresponded with her by e-mail and asked if she would be willing to do an interview but she said she said everything she wanted to say in her book and unless i had a specific question she really didn't want to be
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interviewed and i could not contact her sister. >> could you expand a little more on the first lady's domestic agenda and what inspired her? >> she became first lady is difficult time. she had an agenda. her first cause was volunteerism although she was also very interested in reading. the volunteerism was dear to her because she did believe in people helping other people, but it was 1969. the country was in tremendous turmoil land something like volunteerism was not going to be a cause that would catch on with the general public. she also had obstacles. it was a very tense situation between the west wing and the east wing so she ran into issues in terms of being able to explore and find herself. she did have the things she did
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domestically although jackie kennedy gets about of credit for redecorating the white house, passed did more of that. she hired a protocol officer from the state department and the two of them went around the country making deals with different people, different museums to get period pieces in the white house and to restore the white house to the point that when jackie kennedy came back for the first time since she had left in 1963 or 1964 she commented on how wonderful job pat had done redecorating. it also took her a while to find her stride. acting she was moving in that direction. amidst all of this, shifting historical circumstances and problems she had within the administration in terms of being
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able to find her own path. the other reality is she felt most comfortable traveling and meeting people and being able to get out among the people. >> she was embattled. did you mean during the watergate or after the presidency? >> i have to be honest. i don't know if the press would appreciate my saying this but when i wrote the manuscript, pfgbest was the chapter dealing with problems in the white house. i named the book at nixon, every woman in the white house which i thought she represented. that they liked the embattled first lady named better so the press wins. that is how that happened.
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>> will you kindly speak to pat ryan before she was mrs. nixon? >> certainly. you want me to tell you about her childhood? >> yes. also respond, was she a teacher? >> yes. she had a very -- when i say at the end she had her whole life, she made the best of a bad situation. term other died when she was 12 and she had two brothers and her father, helped take care of the house and to keep everything in order and go to school where she got very good grades. it ended up through a fluke of circumstances she and her two brothers graduated high school at the same time. she got skipped ahead. one of her brothers broke his arm. somebody else had other problems and they were all graduating at
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the same time. they graduated high school right around the time their father became seriously ill so they had to each find jobs to support the farm and had to sell the farm they were going to decide who would go to college because they all wanted to go to college. they decided to one brother had a scholarship. he would go to college first. the other two would work. she had to work to support the brother and at one point there was a couple that hired her to drive across the country and the idea was she would drive across the country to new york, visit her father have relatives and they would buy airplane ticket back and that is how they would pay her but when she got to new york and met the relatives they offered her and one of the law for a job. she lived in new york by herself for a year. worked in hospital and she had tremendous adventures if you can
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read between the lines in the letters to her brothers she was having a great time. she flirted with the doctor who according to some of her relatives wanted to marry her. she had ventures, she was working in a tuberculosis hospital enduring snow storms they would go out and go sled writing and somebody said are you afraid you're going to -- i don't worry about that. i think about the young boys and how this will make feel. her brother wrote to her and said you save up enough money come back. came back, went to college, was working on a business degree. she had hoped to be what we would call today a personal shopper but she realized it would take too long to work her way up. she was a very practical woman. she said i will get my teaching certificate as well. she did. she got her teaching certificate and got a job. it was when she was taking up in
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schools that--for the first time in her life, had enough money and enough freedom to take little trips that she wanted to take. she had some girlfriends she would visit and that she wrote to, she would go on little excursions but it was while she was there that one of the older teachers said we are doing a community play and it would be a good idea -- back in the day when an older teachers that if you do this you get it, she had been theater before. this wasn't something far fetched. was in the georgia theater group, nixon in the theater group, they met. i was also going to encourage you that if you have not been able -- the other part of the nixon debate you need to see, a different side of dick nixon, to read the excerpts of the love letters. we have a tendency to think of
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him and one of the most i opening experiences of doing my research was reading the love letters between the two of them. there are all these letters in which they are very playful writing back and forth and even -- he was really chasing her. he would sometimes writing to los angeles, take her into los angeles and she was going to meet somebody else but he would take her and they would go on long drives and go up the coast and each take a book and they would get out of a car and each read their own book. a very quiet kind of dating but eventually it progressed into something else and they agreed to get married. it is kind of one of those
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things you go through, in the beginning you have a very romantic kind of relationship. even when he is first elected to congress and he writes letters from his first trip abroad, the letters are filled with all these visions -- what is going to happen when we come that? this wonderful nursery, check out the ship, have this nursery, we can take trisha down there. we can see the sights of europe. for years he promised to take her to europe. it didn't actually happen as a vacation until 1963. he was still promising it was going to happen. does that answer your question? i think we have time for one more question. >> i would be curious to know a little bit about her family, in nevada.
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what did her father do, why move to california? what were his parents like, what were her mother's parents like? >> we're getting into a tricky area. her father was the son of irish immigrants and he had to travel around -- she did a lot of things. he would talk about his good ventures. he had been made minor. term mother was a first-generation german immigrant and her mother had been married before. her mother was -- her mother came over as a child and stayed and eventually married a man named bender. we move to what the code did we decide it was? north dakota and he was killed
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in a flood up there. actually, i tried hard to find information about the flood that killed him. i called the archives, i spoke to the archivist and could not find a lot of information about her mother's first husband. from that marriage she had two children. than she married will ryan and they moved to nevada, several towns in nevada and he was a minor. she lost one husband to mining and did not want to lose another one. she was constantly putting pressure on him to give up the mining like to move something, become something else, to be a farmer or something else to be more stable and less dangerous so eventually they moved to southern california where he continues to have dreams,
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finding gold, doing something that would get them other than being a truck farmer. but it doesn't happen the way he wanted to. >> thank you all. let's give "after the bell" a hand. [applause] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. forty-eight hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> booktv will be live at the miami book fair international held on the campus of miami dade college over the november 17th and eighteenth weekend. we will bring you ten author talks and panel discussions, author interview segment and your chance to participate with facebook, twitter, your calls and e-mails and keep an eye on our facebook page for live author chats throughout the weekend. featured authors include bill o'reilly, co-author of killing kennedy, hannah rosen, author of
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the men of men, and what is the matter with white people, james patterson will speak about the literacy initiative he started to read kid, read, and neil ross key, author of bailout. visit booktv.org. >> tell us what you think about programming. you can teach us at booktv, comment on our facebook wall or send us an e-mail. booktv, nonfiction books every weekend on c-span2. >> within the confines of a book you can only do so much. we wanted diverse city. we wanted democrats, republicans, different parts of the country, everyone in different ages. we knew on the basis of nine you can't make generalizations that are 100% certain.
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we think our conclusions are hypotheses that other people might run with but in order to make even those hypotheses we needed a fairly diverse group. >> we also included women, there's the white house project in the last couple election cycles and they have eight, so several of the women the white house projects identified several years before the 2008 election. olympia snowe, kathleen sibelius, we also wanted to consider this notion, barbara lee had been here several years ago during the last round six years ago with her foundation and talked about looking at women governors. we look at several women governors who had been through our police training as the pipeline. >> we made the observation that
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when a male is elected to senatorship, immediately this, a future presidential hopeful. scott brown had not since warning yet in massachusetts. and so many have been in washington for 7 years. and we were curious why not. >> how did you decide to write this book. how did this book come about. i had been a political nerd since i was -- staging a

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